Saturday, March 17, 2007

limón drops


I’m doing something different this week – more of a regular recap. So far this week I haven’t read any recaps – so I haven’t had a chance to copy anyone clever like Eric3000 – so I’m not sure how good this will be but here goes.

1. The Setup

There are two groups:
  1. The Bradys: Andrea, Erik and Goil &
  2. The Mean Girls: Matt, Michael and Carisa.
They are each creating a party on sacred ground that has been blessed by The Spirit of Exquisite Taste in All Things but Especially Hat and Shoes the Holy Mother of God What is He Wearing Elton John of the Oscarae Bashiana Fabulosity be Thy Name.

The party is for the product placement of Bacardi Limón.
I get the dry heaves just thinking about sweet rum mixed with lemon flavoring.

1. They are throwing the party inside a GMC Acadia.
2. The party must be "sensorial" because Bicardi has decided that their product is going to be associated with being sensorial. I take this to mean that everyone at the party will be on ecstasy.
Todd also mentions doing something "to hero” the product. I begin to weep silently for the demise of the English language. May whomever turned hero into a verb to be used for advertising promotion burn forever in a lake of fire.

  • Goil wants to do a Star Trek theme. He becomes R2D2 and while they are working on the project he makes only vague single syllable noises.
  • Erik wants to create a Polish wedding in the backyard of his mom’s house. He thinks of Elton John as a Chicago Polish mom which is just one of about a hundred adorable things Erik says. Someone that cute and that funny and with such strong old school skills has a good chance of sticking around for a while--perhaps winning the whole thing, right?
  • Michael wants to throw a bar mitzvah for himself.

2. The Mean Girls

The Mean Girls have drawn up their plans and are now meeting with the carpenters. By this time Michael's Bar Mitzvah Boy has retreated and two of Michaels many other personalities have taken over. He is veering wildly between:

BriBri, a fifth tier New York debutante who is invited to some of the hip social affairs but is able to get into all of them because she knows all the djs and has slept with most of the bouncers.


Arleen, an embittered divorcee whose children haven’t spoken to her in over a decade. She is the boss from hell who runs a pr firm and berates her assistant so relentlessly that she has to hire a new one every two weeks.

Carisa is showing the carpenters the plans with an overall theme of open squares.

Michael/Arleen: "NO."

Carisa and the Carpenters stop and look at him.

Michael/Arleen (to Carisa): "I would have mentioned this earlier but then I wouldn’t have been able to humiliate you in front of the carpenters"

Matt: (giggles)

Carisa: "Oh" (speechless by this sudden change)

Michael/Arleen: "We should all be able to express our opinion without being talked over and put down."

Matt (giggle, whispers to Michael): "Tell her she’s a doodyface!"

Carisa: "Here is the design for the dj platforms"

Michael/BriBri: NO.

Carisa: What?!

Michael/BriBri: "I rented a table the dj will stand on because djs don’t work in booths, they just stand on tables with go-go dancers. I know because I go to all the big social affairs in New York. Paris and Misha are my closest friends.

Matt: "Michael that’s brill – you’re a genius. You're going to introduce me to them right?"

Carisa: "Go-Go dancers?"

Michael/BriBri: "We can all see you are having trouble with other people expressing their opinions."

Carisa: "I don’t want it to be tacky."

Michael/BriBri: "They won't be tacky. They will be gold. I know because I've been to parties that Donald Trump throws and he's very classy. Ivanka is one of my closest best friends. "

Matt (whispers to Michael): "Tell Carisa that she’s not allowed in our secret club."

Carisa: "Whatever." (To the carpenters): "Here are the seating areas."

Michael/BriBri: "NO."

"People don’t sit at parties. How can you not know that? Nobody ever sits at a party. I know this because I go to parties and you don’t because I’m popular and you aren’t. "

Matt: (giggle) "Yeah, we’re popular. We’re tall and blond and thin and popular and the boys like us."

Carisa: "Okay fine. You take over and tell us what to do."

Michael: "I don’t actually have any ideas I just want to make it look like you are being bossy and not letting us have our say. Have I made you so angry that you can’t breathe yet? Because I can keep going until you pass out from a lack of oxygen. "

3. The Bradys

Meanwhile the Bradys are redoing the attic so Greg and Marcia can finally have a room to drop acid and make out in.

Erik/Greg: "Lets hang the lemons and the bottles like hippy beads."

Andrea/Marcia: "Can we get Felicia’s afghan? That would look nice with some furry flowers."

Erik: "Where’s Goil?"

Andrea: "Back at the Bells' garage putting more finishing touches on the dog bed."

Goil/R2D2: "uh yeep ba ip"

Andrea (to camera): "We have to keep Goil doing little projects so he won't get obsessed again"

Erik and Andrea are turning Goil’s chandelier into a sofa.

Goil/R2D2: (stabbing lemons with nails): "neep neep neep neep"

Goil (to camera): "I wish they would listen to me."

Goil/R2D2: "ah um wha -- bleep bloop."

Erik (dreaming of being with Goil in a jacuzzi): "Hang on there Spartacus."

Goil (to camera): "I’m sacrificing my ego by holding in my rage until I have an audience that can best appreciate my dramatic range.

4. The Judging

Kelly: "I liked the bouncer. "

Jonathan: "He was so sensorial"

Margaret: "Yes, that overwhelming odor of Axe body spray really mixed well with the lemons."

The judges (to the Mean Girls): "We really liked the box motifs, the dj booth, and the seating areas -- whose overall design was it?"

Carisa: "It was mine"

Matt gasps and rolls his eyes with the bitchy queen bee technique that he has perfected over this this episode.

Michael: "I’m outraged even though I shot down all of Carisa's ideas that the judges liked and even though I would never share the credit myself "

Carisa (Not backing down): "The overall design was mine."

Michael: "Well I did the flowers."

Carisa shows Matt that she can still roll her eyes better than he can. Matt cowers behind Michael.

Jonathan (Queen of the Eye Rollers): Ladies, don't even go there.

Carisa: "Michael used too much cabbage in his flower arrangements."

Michael: "We created everything together. We worked as a team."

Matt: (worried, whispers to Michael): "Except that Carisa’s not allowed in our club, right, Michael, right?"

Michael. "Everyone should follow my example. See how nice it is to be nice?"

Everyone: "Which personality is the nice one? Have we met him yet?"

Kelly: "Did you all celebrate together when you finished?"

Matt and Michael do their special secret club handshake.

Matt: "Carisa has cooties!"

Margaret: "Well clearly Matt has the maturity and neutrality to have been the leader of the group. So he is the winner."

Jonathan: "So Goil how was your experience?"

Goil: "They put duct tape over my mouth and never let me speak. It’s a club that I can never be in!!

Carisa: "Cry me a river."

Andrea and Erik : "What the f—"

Jonathan: "How could you two be so cruel to our favorite? And you didn’t let him spend the entire time on his one pet project? What is WRONG with you two?! Wait. Where did he go?"

Goil has built a rolling cubbyhole and has crawled into it and is now rocking himself and repeating "Marcia Marcia Marcia."

Margaret: "Everyone! Go to your room!"

Andrea: "Goil Why didn't you tell us?"

Goil: "You were my favorite! I was R2D2 but now I'm Jan Brady! It’s a mess!"

Michael is horrified that Goil is becoming the center of attention. Unable to stand the idea of anyone being a bigger drama queen than he is, his Scarlett Rose Blanche personality takes over.

Scarlett Rose Blanche (comforting Goil):“Come over here child.”

Scarlett Rose Blanche (barks at cameraman): “Are you getting this? Zoom in closer!”

Scarlett Rose Blanche (looking off into the distance and speaking slowly, like Blanche Dubois' in her “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers” speech):

We have no idea where this is going.”


5. Coda:

Erik is packing up his workspace. He tells us that he is an Alpha Male. He pees on the table before he leaves.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

what's in a vase

Finally, regarding Ryans parting dig at Jonathan's vases, here are a few points I'd make.

First let me parse what it seemed like Ryan was saying about the vase when was so dismissive of it:
The vase is a symbol for the things in life that are trivial, the things that we don't need. We can live without a vase. The vase is decorative. The vase is not art it is craft. The vase is delicate, too easy to smash. it represents this whole endeavor.
That vase matters because crappy design is part of the consumer culture, disposible culture, a culture that doesn't think about where our products come from and who made them and how they were made.

That vase represents a resistance to all of that. It is about thinking about where things are made and who made them. And about having things that we want to keep.

Why should we have things around us that are ugly when it costs the same to design something This is the reason why high-end designers have moved into developing lines for Target and K-Mart.

If we are to think about things we have ather than just accumulate them then we need to consider the importance of the things we have around us. When I have a barbeque I would rather serve my friends on bright polka dot melanine than on paper plates.

I like to decorate the table and put flowers in vases. (I would especially like to put them in a JA vase . . . )

pretty colors.

Is this a trivial act? The answer to this question is actually far from simple.

Virginia Woolf wrote an entire novel about it (and a few other things as well). If you are an interior designer and you have not read Mrs. Dalloway then hie thee to a bookstore and start reading it now and don't stop until you are finished. (The Hours is a wonderful novel but it isn't the same and the movie is supposed to be fine but Virginia Woolf and Clarissa Dalloway are too real to me to see on film and the idea that a nitwit like Nicole Kidman portrayed Virginia Woolf and won an Oscar because she wore a fake nose is scandalous even for the Academy. But I digress ...

The set table is about hospitality and hospitality is about culture. It is about the idea of home. What nourishes us.

yummy. like spumante

Are these statements not radical enough? Not overtly political enough? When the reason we are creating art is to spread one's message or when we must label art with a message or when we decide whether we like art based on our politics we are creating propaganda not art.

The aesthetics of the vase is in itself about so many things -- first of all it is a vessel. It is the shape of a woman's body.

It is the source.

The more I think about someone who calls themself an artist acting this way about an artist's vase the more lightheaded I start to feel.

abacus, beaded
very contemporary, very mod, and
very art nouveau as well with its organic shapes and japonisme

It seems ironic that Ryan's snobbery about being an artist would place him in the art versus craft hierarchy (intentionally or not) looking down at the person who actually gets his hands dirty.

Ryan -- who was all about making political statements his work -- assumed that Jonathan had nothing to say about ecology and design. Of course someone whose art is about working with the earth has probably never thought about that.

igneous in jade
(some of my personal favorites, esp in sand)

As for the idea that they are mainly used for decorative purposes.

vidalia (gasp! to die for),

If that were true, and whatever that does mean, I, for one, do not want to live in a world that only values the utilitarian. That is George Bush's world.

anemone -- has a bit of a zeisel feel to it

That is the world that sees no value in poetry because there is no use in it.

igneous in sand
a harsh beauty

Then there are the people who dismiss a certain work of art a field of art because its purpose is considered trivial or its meaning is not immediately apparent or it doesn't have a high enough status (too feminine?) in the hierarchy of the arts.

(reminds me of stones --
his works on paper),

The idea that something is trivial, small, inconsequential is never a reason not to cherish it. The idea that something has no value in the world is never a reason not to say it isn't essential to one's life.


NOTE: I apologize for the typos -- I'm in a rush and a small wire fox terrier is trying to bite my sleeves as I type -- I'll try to fix them as soon as I can.

Ryan is such a bore that when I've thought about writing something about him this past week it just made me so tired that I would have to go and take a nap.

My favorite description of him comes from Jonathan Adler: "he is a person who thinks he is an artist." I have come up with a name for this: an artard.

ARTARD, n: an ill-informed, often comical or foolish person who believes they are an artist and who publicly acts out the role of the tormented artist in order to get attention (artardary, artardesque):

Ryan's silly hackneyed speeches only evoked derision in the judges. For the record his "art" was hardly original. Ooooh black walls! broken glass!). Avant Garde artists have been reclaiming and reworking interiors for well over a century. I won't even get started on this because if I think too much about the fact that he doesn't know this does know this I might perish of grief. You know how I get when people have not done their homework. I'm not sure whether his ignorance is the fault of Ryan since he is clearly the kind of person who is determined not to learn anything or his teachers who have not taught him but given him passing grades.

As for being an artist in your napalm slum, uh, Ryan:
  1. Words are attached to meanings -- they aren't just sounds, right? You do know that?
  2. Napalm is something other than a band name; it has some associations (The Kim Foundation) that are not really apt comparisons for your creative expressions although listening to you one does start to feel ones skin crawl. (That said, Ryan's whole speech is so laughable that it is hard to be offended.)
  3. If you want to go to a napalm slum, you're in luck because it turns out we are using napalm in Iraq even though it is banned
At any rate, Top Design missed an opportunity to inform the viewers about the profession by letting Ryan's stupidity stand unchallenged.

Interior design is full of people doing extraordinarily innovative work bringing together aesthetics, conservation, recycling, and the built environment. (Not for nothing but Todd Oldham has something to offer in this area.) Here's a house build from freeway salvage that I just read about yesterday. There are a many amazing furniture designers who only work with recycled and sustainable materials. There is incredible work being done with land and landscape reclamation in former industrial sites in Eastern Germany . . .

Where I live in the Bay Area land is so expensive and the small house movement is very popular. I have a friend, also a metalworking artist, who helped create a mobile grocery store for fresh organic food in Oakland (People's Grocery, which is now a model for a project in New Orleans).

There is a world of people thinking about living spaces and the made environment that is recycled, restored, sustainable, small, transformable, and mobile.

What I'm saying is that there is so much Indy and DIY stuff that is really cool. Frankly, it pisses me off that for six weeks this artard has had a national television platform to spout his bullshit and meanwhile the people who are doing all of this fantastic work don't get the attention they deserve.

top design without pity

The news that Bravo bought television without pity reminded me to go check the twop recap for top design.

I keep forgetting to check in with twop. It takes so long for the recap to go up that it has just dropped out of my routine. It is worth the wait, though, and this week's is no exception. Here are a few choice observations:

This seems like less of a job for Top Design and more of one for Clean House. Or at least one for Child Protective Services, if the Bells are serious about turning a garage into a play area for their kids. ("Hi, I'm actor Troy McClure. You might remember me from such educational filmstrips as ‘Carbon Monoxide: Nature's Unwanted Play Friend.'") Also, the Bells realize they can use other rooms in the house for things like offices and play areas and whatnot, right? Or is there some gypsy curse that prevents them from going up to the second floor?

re: the murderous look Ma Bell shoots at Ryan when he suggests de-cluttering: "Get rid of a lot stuff? Get rid of it? Then how will our neighbors know how rich we are? We didn't meticulously accrue a lot of things we don't need or want or even realize we have just to have some hippie vagrant suggest we get rid of it all. And you have the audacity to suggest such a thing in front of my children?"

Andrea's response to the shed add-on was: "out of nowhere came these impossible obstacles." ... Lady -- you're turning a shed into a workspace; you're not building the Panama Canal... Carisa's able to snag some filing cabinets and tabletops to make the "impossible" task of outfitting the shed a little more possible -- it's like a Christmas miracle!

Andrea frets that Goil is spending too much time on the bed. Boy, if only someone in charge of the project would express the concern directly to Goil.

Jonathan tells the contestants that they'll be judged on overall design execution, teamwork, how well they met the individual needs of each family member, and their personal contribution to the project; that means they'll likely be judged on their biorhythms, what they did two weeks ago, what kind of spread was available from the craft services table today, and a special mathematical formula that only Kelly Wearstler understands. Oh, and Jonathan also walked through the garage with the Bell family and got their feedback -- he waves his notes menacingly at the Top Designers -- so expect him to rely heavily on the Bells' opinions, unless it diverges from his own.

Ryan makes it ever more difficult to sympathize with him: "If my aesthetic doesn't please the judges, so be it. I can walk home to the slum that is the art world tomorrow and be perfectly happy." Petulant I'm-better-than-this-gig rants come across as much more powerful when they don't sound like the copy for a Calvin Klein perfume ad. ("If having a daring point of view is a crime, then declare me guilty!")

Ah, but let's get the opinion of the most important member of the Bell Family -- the all-new GMC Acadia ("The Acadia: We didn't start invading countries just so you people could start conserving fuel all of a sudden!") Pa Bell is able to drive the Acadia into the garage without any mishap -- "The Acadia: Now entirely parkable!" -- which produces a round of applause from the rest of the Bells and Jonathan. They must go crazy when someone successfully parallel-parks.

The "Throw Your Fellow Contestants Under the Bus" fun continues when talk turns to the color palette -- the kids suggested it, Andrea says, but Michael chose the actual colors. That's going to be quite a surprise to him.

Michael: "And I've got to take a piss so let's go." I think the great speeches of history would be improved exponentially if they ended on that declaration.

re: the derisive fury the judges are targeting at Michael. "I just know he is the author of the color of those curtains," Jonathan sighs. "Of course, he is," Margaret cackles. "He's never met a shade of grape he doesn't love," Jonathan adds. "Burn the witch! Burn the witch! Cleanse the earth with fire!" the judges chant.

Ryan says goodbye to a few of his fellow Top Designers: "All right, kids. Fight the power." Somewhere, Chuck D. just threw up into his mouth a little bit.
Click here to read the entire recap.

There are also the TwoP Polls, such as:
It's a garage! And a play area! And a workspace! What other things should the Bells request for this project, since they have subservient labor at their disposal?
A sliding floor that rolls back to reveal a Jacuzzi
A breakfast nook
A second floor
A life-size foosball table
Ramparts, to protect them from the howling mob when the inevitable class war breaks out

Maybe now that Bravo has bought the web site they will take some of its advice:
at this point, Top Design can't even go five minutes without illustrating what the producers got wrong about making a compelling and engaging program.

Anyway, I'm going to go back and read the recaps I've missed from the last few weeks.

That said, it would be nice if television without pity top design would send a note to the folks at blogging top design and let them know when the recap is up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

margaret russell : observation 5

Margaret Russell
edited by kora in hell


| 5 |

Where was the art? Where the hell was the art? Where was the big idea? He always has a big idea and you've been charmed by them and he didn't have anything.